A mother of three is still struggling to understand how she came to be attacked in the street by a pack of young men she did not know.
"I don't put myself in bad situations," Haley Bennett said from her bed in Hawke's Bay Hospital yesterday. "I don't go to parties and rave it up and live on the edge.
"My parties are having a couple of drinks and playing board games with friends."
She has a broken arm and a badly broken ankle after trying to protect a friend who was being kicked by the men in an unprovoked attack in a quiet Hastings street early on Saturday.
Bennett, 31, had been enjoying a quiet drink with friends at her home on Friday night. She left about 1am on Saturday to walk her last guest home.
They were on the corner of Riverslea Rd North and Alexandra St when a car load of young men and a woman drove past "yahooing" out the window.
The 25-year-old man yelled back to fob them off. But then the car stopped.
Four men got out, surrounded the pair and pushed them to the ground. They stood over the man and booted him in the back and head.
A terrified Bennett stuck out her arm to try to protect her friend's head. "I was really scared for him. I don't know if I closed my eyes, I just remember screaming and pleading for them to stop. I thought they were going to kill him."
Her friend is now recovering at home with a bruised and swollen back.
A woman from the car was screaming for the attackers to stop, but Bennett thinks it was neighbours roused by the noise who scared the group off.
She said the "terrifying" attack did not seem real. "It's pretty scary that people would [treat] someone else's life so carelessly and . . . so flippantly."
It happened so fast that she never got a good look at her attackers. She hoped the woman who was with them had the "heart" to come forward to the police.
- The Dominion Post